The beginning of the end of the 3G era in India begins in Kolkata as Airtel preps for the 5G life


  • Bharti Airtel said that it has shut down 3G services in Kolkata.
  • Last year, the chief executive officer of Airtel Gopal Vittal said, “The demise of 3G technology is rapidly drawing near.
  • High-speed data 3G services were launched amidst great fanfare in 2011 -12, triggering growth in smartphones.
Weeks after the government said that it will auction 5G spectrum, and three years since Reliance Jio launched 4G services, the once-prized 3G services are being phased out.

Bharti Airtel made the first move as it has shut down 3G services in Kolkata, and all its customers were notified to upgrade to 4G handsets. However, the telecom operator will continue to provide 2G data services for customers who use feature phones only.

The company claims that most of its consumers have already upgraded their handsets and it can use its 3G spectrum to strengthen the quality of its 4G services.

“We plan to re-farm all of our 3G spectrum across India and deploy it for 4G in a phased manner. Also, it complements the smartphone ecosystem, which has now gravitated overwhelmingly towards 4G only devices,” said Randeep Sekhon, chief technology officer of Bharti Airtel.

‘Demise of 3G’

After a spurt in demand for 4G services, the company said that it plans to phase out 2G and 3G services and use the premium airwaves to make way for the new technology.

Last year, the chief executive officer of Airtel Gopal Vittal said, “The demise of 3G technology is rapidly drawing near since standalone 3G services is scarcely generating any meaningful revenue.”

High-speed data 3G services were launched amidst great fanfare in 2011 -12, triggering growth in smartphones. The service remained premium for many years until a price war triggered by Reliance Jio in the data market took away pricing power from top operators like Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Bharti Airtel.

Around nine years back, the spectrum auction brought a bonanza for the government as it made a whopping $15 billion from the first-ever auction of telecom airwaves.

Even as 4G LTE is popular now, the country is all set for yet another mobile technology shift as the government announced plans to auction 5G airwaves soon.

SEE ALSO:
The Indian government wants to raise ₹6 trillion from the largest 5g spectrum auction ever
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